How does the Form 1 compare to

the new Solidator DLP Printer?

Seems that this new machine will get some attention! It has a very large build area. Anyone heard about this?

I don’t see the point of the Solidator printer. Explained by their poor performing kickstarter campaign.

First of all when you stretch the dlp projection to such a large build area, you loose the resolution. Also, the layer height is only 100microns vs the form1s 25, 50 and 100 microns.

It also costs $5,000! You can buy 3 FDM printers for that price and print much faster and the same quality more or less.

You are better off getting a form1 or even a b9 creator.

I’m curious as to how the Solidator is set up internally, every DLP printer I have seen has the projector(s) mounted pointing up from under the resin tray, but the Solidator doesn’t have space for that. So is it mounted flat & reflected upward or does it somehow use an  lcd or led screen? I those those didn’t give off enough UV light or something?

In response to Monger Designs,

I hate to be rude here, but you don’t seem to know what you’re talking about.

You’re correct about the stretching, but the pixels are still only 270 microns. Form1 is 300 microns (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/formlabs/form-1-an-affordable-professional-3d-printer). So there, the pixel size of the Solidator is better. Wrong on your first point.

Regarding FDM, you’re just ignorantly wrong on that one. There isn’t a single FDM printer that can print faster than the Solidator. Not even close. There aren’t even any SLA printers that can print as fast as the Solidator, including the Form1. The Solidator can print 3-4x faster than the B9 and Form1 for the same height, and 10x larger on the x/y area.

And to say it’s FDM quality is also ignorant. The Solidator can print down to 30 microns TESTED AND WORKING, with down to 10 micron layer accuracy. To say you can get that from a FDM is just dumb. And if you knew what you were talking about, you would also know that 100 micron prints from a FDM machine look nowhere near as good as 100 micron prints on a SLA due to the layer edge shape.

I might be biased here, but come on… If you’re going to spout BS, at least spout BS that’s not so obviously wrong.

Just my 2 cents, for free…

When you look at FDM printers, a “new” start-up making a “new” 3D printer has become a dime a dozen nowadays. As much as I love innovation and new technology, I personally only see a lot of people doing things for cheaper and differently (just for the sake of being different). Realistically, there is a practical limit to the quality, speed, cost, and convenience of FDM printing. OK, so the framework is metal instead of wood, actuators instead of belts and steppers, strings instead of actuators, etc… etc… Price is $200, was $2400. It is really a  busy market.

What made Formlabs special was they were the first to really create a professional level SLA printer in a price range not-too-distant from these crummy FDM printers. From a bill of material standpoint, it is hard for me to believe SLA printers won’t go even cheaper than FDM printers in the near future.

Back to my point, Formlabs (and yes, B9 creator, for all you B9 fanatics) was wildly successful because they broke away from the ripoff of the copy of the tweaked of the home grown FDM printer. They said “hey, FDM has a limit and it isn’t good enough. Let’s do something different”

Now, back to the original point – When I look at the Solidator, I see the same cycle. B9 and Formlabs innovated, let’s take the same, recycle it, change one of the specifications (in this case, the build platform size) and try to sell it. I think the entire community is not impressed and isn’t buying it. (As of right now, the campaign is keeping at only $25k and not moving fast).

Build platform is not too impressive to me, personally. A large build platform is like a cellphone plan with lots of minutes – we all say we want the most minutes possible, but when we look at the bill every month, we see most of the time we are using but a small fraction of what we have available. Sure, there are users out there interested in large models, but I don’t know too many people who want to have 6 Eiffel towers laying around their house :wink:

What I recommend to those trying to get into the 3D printer manufacturing game, you need to seriously think about how to add value and drive excitement. I don’t think simply multiplying the build platform by 6 is going to get there. Think about MP3 players back 13 years ago.  I remember many manufacturers were one-upping each other by creating MP3 players with 4x memory as the other guys. I had a Diamond Rio 32 MB player, Creative came out with a 2 GB hard drive MP3 player, the ole’ Microsoft ZUNE, bested Creative, and so on and so on. Apple secured the market by looking past the one spec that is storage space and worked on an entire file management/purchase/experience that was unmatched and now those other guys have been knocked out of the market.

Wow, Josh. Didn’t know you were associated with the Solidator. Maybe they use your resin? The form1’s pixels are not 300 microns. That is the minimum feature size. There are no pixels on the form1. The laser can move a few microns at a time. I think you are the ignorant one here.

Anyway, my point was that there is not going to be a huge demand to the solidator machine, and their kickstarter is proving it. People do not need necessarily need to print big objects on SLA printers, they need a large printing area for printing lots of high quality parts, and stretching the projector image is not going to accomplish that.

I was simply expressing my opinion and I stand behind it. If you don’t like it, you can do exactly nothing.

Well I’d like to think I know what I’m talking about, since my whole business is based on supporting these printers. And the fact that I have DLP printers, galvonometer based laser printers, carriage based laser printers, and FDM printers.

The minimum feature size is 300 microns because since Form1 is a galvanometer based laser system, that is the minimum focus size they can guarantee on the vat floor. That is effectively their “pixel size”, as it’s the minimum size light beam that can hit the surface. They can move it down to the precision of the galvanometers they are using, but it’s still the smallest feature you can get. That is what I was comparing, because that same size on the Solidator is what, 30 microns smaller?

And you’re right, most people don’t need to print large things. People also don’t need to drive cars, or have electricity. But it’s nice to have those things. The Solidator is meant to compete with printers from EnvisionTEC and 3DSystems, because you can print real things and not just tiny toys. It’s not meant to compete with the Form1.

At this time, with only 14 days to go, they have exactly 5 backers for the machine. Maybe those people can finally print some giant cars and…electricity :wink:

I’m not preaching the merits of the Solidator, I’m just correcting your misinformation about SLA and FDM.

The exact sentence was “You can buy 3 FDM printers for that price and print much faster and the same quality more or less.”

Meaning… you can print your object divided between 3 different printers much faster. More or less the same quality.

I know that SLA is much better quality than FDM. I’ve had 2 SLA printers. Zero FDM.

Then let me reiterate and help you out:

  1. Even with 3 of the fastest FDM machines going at once to print a part you will glue together, they will still be substantitally slower than 1 Solidator.

  2. They will not be the same quality. Even if you chose to print at 100 microns on both FDM and Solidator, the prints on Solidator would be way better, but Solidator has also been tested and working at 30 microns as well, and I don’t know of any FDM machines that will do that.

So I don’t see why you’re still trying to make erroneous statements, if you know they are wrong and have no knowledge of one of the items you are comparing?

Thanks for the “help”. Now let me educate you…

The Ultimaker 2 FDM 3D printer can print at 20 micron layers.

I think you should stick to selling sub-par resin to b9 users and leave this forum alone at least until you own a Form1.

Awesome, thanks for the lesson.

Now when you get one and test it, let me know how it works. Meanwhile I’ll keep selling my sub-par resin to those B9 users, EnvisionTEC users, Peachy Printer Users, and boatload of Form1 users :slight_smile:

You’re welcome, FakerJuice :wink:

Whoa… its getting hot in here :wink:

Why dont we chill guys…

Im no expert (although I have presented a couple of times at 3d printing conferences) but I think the Solidator may have its merits.

Personally, as an artist and sculptor, I am drooling at that print bed. From what ive seen in their kickstarter page though the prints still need a lot of work, but so does the form1. Its no fun gluing 2 pieces together and spending many hours finishing them to get a 12 inch mini sculpture. Its even less fun having 10 prints fail in a row… (I am beginning to doubt on the form1’s ability to consistently print large objects… http://bit.ly/1bWxRiU)

Looking around the forums its clear I am by no means the only one experiencing problems… The solidator’s initial lack of interest may be due to many things, like the toneless guy doing the talking in a weird accent for starters, or simply not managing their campaign right and not getting enough exposure. Trust me there is an art to it and its not always the best product that wins.

In any case, my point is that I think its to early to be taking sides, or getting defensive about any single printer. God knows the form has its problems and I literally traveled by plane to get mine. In the end any inovation in this front is good for us, so lets try to keep this positive and be constructive :wink: - my 2 cents

I’d really like to know more about the Solidator, but I noticed on a couple pics that there looked like the print warped, like the feet of the tower weren’t flat to the ground anymore.

Just received a reply: the one that looked really warped was just sitting on an acrylic plate that curves down in the middle so it just made it look messed up.

They’re definitely far from their funding target, but who knows… I’d be likely to try one if it weren’t for being broke! But if my Form 1 would just get here I would be focusing on making stuff instead of wanting something to make stuff with!

Hi all,

So Alexander is a nice guy and ask a good question but at a place where it would certainly heat up a lot. As the Inventor of Solidator I can try to clear this up a bit from an information perspective. First of all as anyone knows on this forum FDM printer layers do not look like Resin layers as they are made from round extruders they show up a lot more and certainly we all know that FDM is even slower than SLA most of the time.

Second Form1 did a great job on making SLA technology available to the masses (aka. cheap) – which is their mission statement. Our mission statement with Solidator is completely different: We want to make printing large objects (or just printing many different at once) FAST while providing unmatched high quality at this size and with this speed. With FDM and SLA this cannot be achieved as you always need to move the laser or the print head. That has nothing to do with layer height its about how you get your voxels rendered in the XY plane. We therefore use DLP Projection Technology to get visible (not UV light) to each pixel at the same time. Using a high quality brand projector and high end optics we can assure that the picture quality and light distribution is great and just what is needed to get a 0.1 mm thick layer cured in 8 seconds and give the motors to go 2 seconds up and down. By not using PDMS like the B9 or Form1 we can actually overcome two significant problems. A) You do not need to remove resin from the tank to have it fully recovered (B9 needs this). B) We do not get so much force that we need to slide the VAT (B9) or tilt the VAT or platform (form1/3ds patents). The basic restriction in size you see on DLP and SLA printers is mainly because of the force that grows quadratic by the size of the vat. We did overcome this issue and we did build a machine that is so small that it fits on your desk while doing the same as 100.000 USD machine that uses up the space of a large refrigerator. That is what we applied the patent for. So indeed there is a innovation in the machine design and not a copying an making cheap of something existing just to get sued the other day.

Furthermore: The Z resolution of the motor is 0.01 mm that means we could go to 10 microns when the resin actually allows this - currently we do support 30 microns we had not have time to test less. The good thing about the DLP Technology is that you get a fixed XY resolution that has absolute positioning accuracy. You can see this in the 30 microns image attached. Every Voxel is exactly where it should be as there is no error from moving parts in this direction.

So the next question comes to the XY resolution. Currently we promote 280x210x200mm  build volume which results in Voxels 0.27mmx0.27mmxLayer Height. This is about the same resolution as a monitor has. That means you will not see our voxels on your monitor if you zoom out to 1:1. We can go to about 230 micron by using the zoom wheel. We did not promote this so far as we do not think there is much demand. It looks like Monger Designs would love to see that -which I did not anticipate. Regarding the minimal feature size thing - which is it important? With your form1s most prints are rotated so that means although you have a great layer height you will still be dependent on the XY resolution a lot. The XY resolution is made of two things: the laser width and the precision it can move with. I do not know the precision. However i can tell you that you need to cure a single pixel at some point (e.g. your diamonds tip) and that pixel with exactly have 300 microns as opposed to 270 micron or 230 micron if you use the Solidator or even smaller if you use the B9 (in theory because in practice the XY resolution is limited by the resins capability to actually stop the reaction in all dimensions). There is a good reason why quality machines that cost 100.000+ do not have endless resolution - it is just not possible with a simple resin formula the current desktop printers use. And people spending a million on a machine also have the funds to buy a microscope and would notice.

So back to our mission: We are saving you time and providing high resolution prints that are not so  much limited in size. If you need exactly this and feel that your printed robot, rc car, engineering parts, electronics enclosure does not fit well in the form1s build volume of 2.6 liters and you need 11.8 liter build volume then I suggest not to buy 5 form1s for      16.000 USD and a ton of glue (which will  destroy all your resolution anyway) but at least think of  buying a Solidator or a 3ds Projet 1500 (which is 3 times the price).

Last point is about the time comparison. There was a note that you do not need 6 Eiffel Towers around your house. I think you missed the point here it is about printing several different objects at once. E.g. a Raspbery Pi Cover Top, a Raspberry Pi Cover Bottom and lets say a complete chess set. You can do this in one print in 25 minutes with the Solidator and you will not be disappointed by the resolution see below. To be hones using the Eiffel Towers was nice of us. We could have used some object that has more Voxels and then the form1 would look a lot slower. The fact is Solidator can render more than 1.5 Billion Voxels in 5.5  hours making it the fastest Desktop Printer on the planet and most likely the fastest 3D Printer ever with a good layer height and fixed XY positioning accuracy.

So why are we Kickstarting? We wanted to give the community the possibility to get this awesome technology at a lower price than it would cost us to product it in small quantities like Envision Tec and other need to do. We do not have any other option to get the price down as we will NOT try to make parts cheap produce in china or reduce the quality of the printer in any way. So basically this is your chance to help get the price down or let this kind of technology stay out of reach for you for a long time.

So enough of worlds I suggest we all show of some prints. Here is my very first print with 30 microns on my hand. Please do only post images less than 4000x4000 pixels and please all viewers zoom out so your hand is as big as yours on the monitor to assure a fair 1:1 viewing.  What I hate is people posting unsharp low resolution pictures of SLA prints claiming that the stuff is good. I have seen to much of them and at tangible engineering USA Corporation we are honest and show them of as they are – with all details brutally detailed.

Again I am trying to answer the question not promoting one or the other. If you are fine with the build volume and print times of the form1 you should absolutely stick to that.

Best Regards

Tim

@Monger Designs: I am sorry no one told you before but you are misbehaving by your last post. It would be really a gentlemen’s thing to remove it or apologize.

PS:
I still not do understand all the complaints about 100 micron layer height? Form1 starts there, too!

Nice post Tim. Maybe you should put that on your kickstarter page so people get a better idea. In regards to the “mean post”… It was a little mean an I am man enough to admit and to say I’m sorry, although the guy did attack me for expressing my opinion. I agree about posting nice pics of the prints to show details, but come on… A yellow blob? Go look at my other threads here and look at the sharp prints of the yoda for example. And a “NICE” move coming to someone else’s forum to defend your machine. I have yet to see form labs guys or b9’s Mike to do that. You gotta let people form their own opinions, even if they are wrong.

I agree with Monger. We are here because we support the Form 1 and what they stand for. I personally see the need/want for a bigger build area. I also already found the solidtator kickstarter independently from this forum. Unfortunately, for myself is that it seemed unfinished and expensive for what it is despite the different (improved) specifications. If the price was more comparable I might have considered giving it a try. However, seeing them come to other people’s forums to promote and defend their product makes me lose respect for the creators and their product. I agree that this forum got heated with opinions, but there is a time and place to promote your product and its not on a competitors forum. Please do not disturb/ force your way into the crowdsource 3d printing ecosystem but integrate yourself into it with a great product, good demonstration and meaningful print representations. Your product when ready will have a space among us and I respect the innovation and motivation to make 3d printing more accessible to the masses, I wish you nothing but success and hope to be part of your campaign one day. For now though please keep your advertising to your own site/forum. Thanks!